Sunday, December 3, 2023

Surfing the Wind with Jersey Ridge Soaring

Jersey Ridge Soaring is a glider business located at The Blairstown Airport. Each weekend the ‘Glider Shack’ is a place where friends meet, student pilots can learn, and aviation enthusiasts can schedule a scenic ride.

Fly in one of their single passenger gliders or bring a friend. Fall is a very popular time to float over the Kittatinny Mountains and the Delaware Water Gap. This sport is a hands-on adventure, surfing the current of the wind, gliding silently, sometimes flying with our feathered friends. A bird’s eye view of life.

In 2015, Kevin and Brenda Martin Jersey Ridge Soaring after Kevin had a bad day at work. “I wanted to buy an aviation business. My intention was to retire as a systems engineer and do what I love. I decided to keep the job and run the glider business as a weekend operation. I could have never done this without the support of my family, especially my wife Brenda and her dad Ray. My wife is a full-time nurse and our office manager. My father-in-law, Ray worked with us too. He made our tow ropes and did so much more.” Martin reminisced fondly.

Martin has been a pilot and glider instructor for over 30 years. He is proud to say he has trained many new pilots. He recounted one of his youngest pilots who soloed at 19, became a certified flight instructor at 19 and is now an Air Force Academy cadet flight instructor.

Local Blairstown resident and Ridge View Echo’s Executive Editor, Paul Avery, has been a pilot since he was 21. In this photo he is seen gliding about, in celebration of his 81st birthday.

Key members of the team are Michael Friedman. the chief flight instructor and Aaron Stout, chief pilot of the 260 horse-power aircraft used to tow the half ton gliders to their intended release altitude.

Emotional Support Chicken seen at the desk of Brenda Martin, helping people to cope with fear of flying. Photo by Jersey Ridge Soaring

“There are so many fond memories made here. There have been marriage proposals in our gliders. John Amos from the hit comedy series “Good Times” took a glider ride with us and one day Jeanne Moos from CNN chatted a while. I enjoy these moments” Martin exclaimed.

Jersey Ridge Soaring also strives to support and grow the community of soaring pilots. They offer instruction towards private and commercial glider licensing and glider instructor certification.

“Students can learn to fly with the help of our glider training simulation program located in the glider shack. This simulator has the local Blairstown scenery and is handy when weather conditions make flying impossible,” said Martin.

Martin with “Angry Bird” his Schweizer three-person glider. There are approximately 40 gliders of this type in existence. Photo by Mb Journe

“Seasoned pilots often come to us to learn the art of gliding. It is the ultimate adventure – soaring high, flying using stick and rudder aviation. Gliding requires finesse, dexterity and coordination, like playing an instrument. Some musicians are attracted to this form of flying and catch on rather quickly. Higher altitudes give one a better attitude” Martin chuckled.

For more information, please see their website at or call Brenda at 908-362-1239.

Yelens Choban
MB Journe, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

My name is Marybeth Journe, I feel blessed to be living in this part of New Jersey. I have enjoyed this community taking advantage of the lakes and woods. Always supporting the local businesses that make this my home. As a local artist myself, I know many of our residence if not by name, at least by sight. I feel comfortable interviewing others. I have worked for The Paulinskill Valley Chronical where I provided articles, photographs and billing. I consider myself an artist, journalist, naturalist, gardener and a teacher for the YMCA Camp Mason. I look forward to the work ahead